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Caste as an Impediment to Trade

Author

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  • Siwan Anderson

Abstract

We compare outcomes across two types of villages in rural India. Villages vary by which caste is dominant (owns the majority of land): either a low or high caste. The key finding is that income is substantially higher for low-caste households residing in villages dominated by a low caste. This seems to be due to a trade breakdown in irrigation water across caste groups. All else equal, lower caste water buyers have agricultural yields which are 45 percent higher if they reside in a village where water sellers are of the same caste compared to one where they are not. (JEL O12, O13, O17, O18, Q15, R23, Z13)

Suggested Citation

  • Siwan Anderson, 2011. "Caste as an Impediment to Trade," American Economic Journal: Applied Economics, American Economic Association, vol. 3(1), pages 239-263, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:aea:aejapp:v:3:y:2011:i:1:p:239-63
    Note: DOI: 10.1257/app.3.1.239
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Timothy Besley & Robin Burgess, 2000. "Land Reform, Poverty Reduction, and Growth: Evidence from India," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 115(2), pages 389-430.
    2. Abhijit Banerjee & Lakshmi Iyer, 2005. "History, Institutions, and Economic Performance: The Legacy of Colonial Land Tenure Systems in India," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1190-1213, September.
    3. George Akerlof, 1976. "The Economics of Caste and of the Rat Race and Other Woeful Tales," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 90(4), pages 599-617.
    4. Hanan G. Jacoby & Rinku Murgai & Saeed Ur Rehman, 2004. "Monopoly Power and Distribution in Fragmented Markets: The Case of Groundwater," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 71(3), pages 783-808.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products
    • O17 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Formal and Informal Sectors; Shadow Economy; Institutional Arrangements
    • O18 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Urban, Rural, Regional, and Transportation Analysis; Housing; Infrastructure
    • Q15 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Agriculture - - - Land Ownership and Tenure; Land Reform; Land Use; Irrigation; Agriculture and Environment
    • R23 - Urban, Rural, Regional, Real Estate, and Transportation Economics - - Household Analysis - - - Regional Migration; Regional Labor Markets; Population
    • Z13 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics - - - Economic Sociology; Economic Anthropology; Language; Social and Economic Stratification

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